A New York lawmaker was arrested Tuesday after allegedly suffocating his estranged wife, police said.
State Senator Luis Sepulveda, a Democrat representing part of the Bronx, was charged with criminal obstruction of breathing, said New York Police Department spokeswoman Detective Sophia Mason, The Associated Press reported.
Mason added that police were called to the state senator’s home in the Bronx Saturday morning for a domestic incident.
Sepulveda, 56, and his wife, 40, filed separate reports accusing each other of assault during Saturday’s incident, the New York Post reported, citing law enforcement sources. Sepúlveda allegedly strangled his wife after she beat him, and surrendered to the NYPD on Tuesday morning, the outlet reported.
Sepúlveda and his wife, Elizabeth, are in the middle of an ongoing divorce settlement. The senator’s attorney, Marvin Ray Raskin, called the accusation « false » and added that it was a « calculated attempt by a disgruntled party to cash in on a divorce settlement from a case he filed in Florida last November, » reported AP. .
Elizabeth Sepúlveda had previously applied for a protective order against her husband in 2015. Sepúlveda at the time noted that it was a temporary order that his wife later withdrew. They both acknowledged that the troubling incident involved an argument that never turned violent.
Raskin said in a statement to the media that Sepúlveda was the victim of recurrent physical violence at the hands of his wife and that he had endured the alleged abuse for nine years, in part because the couple have a young son.
« All allegations must be taken seriously and investigated to the full extent of the law, so the senator is committed and will proactively provide full transparency as this matter is resolved, » he added.
Sepúlveda was removed from the chairmanship of the state Senate Committee on Victims of Crime, Crime, and Corrections, and was stripped of all his committee assignments after office.
“We learned of this disturbing incident this morning. I will immediately remove Senator Sepúlveda as chairman of his committee and all his assignments. I take these allegations extremely seriously and will be monitoring this situation closely, ”New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Democrat, said in a statement.